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* Posts by quartzie

68 posts • joined 3 Jan 2008

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EU cyber-cop: Dark-net crooks think they're beyond reach (until now)

quartzie
FAIL

Not even a Blip

Once you realize that this (1M $ in Bitcoin) won't even register on the scale of the real evildoers (mafia, bankers, politicians), this announcement loses a lot of its fanfare.

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Fat-fingered admin downs entire Joyent data center

quartzie

Worst day of my life: Shot down a cloud

I'm sure it's considered a magic trick to shoot down clouds, unless you work as a BOFH of one.

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Sick of walking into things while gawping at your iPhone? Apple has a patent app. for that

quartzie

USPTO awarding crap, as usual

I know they are busy with all those patent assertions of late, but there's at least one example of direct prior art here in the comments. Reckon a google search would have revealed that in about 10 seconds and thrown out this ridiculous iPatent as it should have been?

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AMD teases workstation pros with 16GB FirePro W9100 graphics card

quartzie

And price war ensues...

IIRC, Nvidia just announced their Geforce GTX Titan Z with 8 TFLOPS and a paltry 12 GB of RAM for a $1000 less.

While it's not a Quadro per se (unlike the FirePro branding), I wouldn't say the performance will be too bad for that money.

Sounds like a price war to me...

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Nvidia unveils Titan Z: An 8TFLOPS off-the-shelf supercomputer disguised as a gfx card

quartzie
Joke

Re: But...

All 5760 instances should run just fine :D

Now you just need someone to rewrite it for CUDA...

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Software needs meaty cores, not thin, stringy ARMs, says Intel

quartzie

Re: @Trevor Pott

Two points.

Hadoop (and many other parallel/hybrid processing frameworks) cannot change the fact that some problems simply aren't very suitable for parallel processing. I believe Intel employs a good number of people who know their way around Hadoop, but they've also noticed not everyone is doing big data in their own garden.

That said, if you've attempted parallel processing on any larger scale, you would notice that getting the system to run efficiently, given a limited memory bandwidth, is a major task and often crucial for deployment on any cloudy distributed platform.

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Coroner suggests cars should block mobile phones

quartzie

Talking while on the move

It isn't just driving - which arguably demands more attention - just notice how stupidly people behave when they are on the phone while walking down the street.

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NASA's Jupiter probe wakes up after unexpected snooze

quartzie

Re: " it is the fastest Man-made thing - and heading to Jupiter at 12,000kph"

I'd rather hope not. Otherwise, someone will forget if they were using feet per second, kph, knots, mph or any other arbitrary unit.

Not that it ever happened before, right?

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USB accelerates to 10 Gbps

quartzie

interference problems

I'm left wondering if the new standard does away with USB 3.0's interference with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands.

As it is, I can barely use my Wi-Fi and wireless mouse whenever I connect a Superspeed USB drive into one of the blue ports.

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Google to double encryption key lengths for SSL certs by year's end

quartzie
Alert

Re: What do they know?

afaik, if the quantum computer was anywhere close to its theoretical performance, 2048 bit keys would still be ridiculously short....

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Kobo strikes new match against Kindle: The Aura HD e-reader

quartzie

Re: 32GB of books?

When it comes to text books, one hardly needs higher resolution than the current Kindle offers.

I'd imagine that Kobo's high resolution screen would impress manga/graphical novel readers in particular. Those do need the extra storage.

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'Charge memory' boffins: Hungover Li-Ion batts tell fat whoppers

quartzie
Mushroom

Blown out

As interesting as the title seems, just looking at the graph shows that the *dreaded* memory effect is in fact minuscule in Li Ion batteries.

Talk about blowing a story out of proportion. Among the problems facing Li-anything batteries, memory effect is hardly worth mentioning.

Re: Pierre, I noticed that the general public is very prone to parroting any 'seemingly true' facts about technologies they don't understand. Do yourself a favor and check some actual research before believing everything in your first google search.

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WTF is... H.265 aka HEVC?

quartzie

Re: hevc facts

The key is in multicore & multithreaded hardware based decoding. If you ran a purely CPU based, software single-threaded (i.e. reference) decoder, you'd get nowhere near realtime decoding for full HD streams even using h.264/avc, not to mention HEVC.

Nobody sane does that, though - and today's CPUs and GPUs are proof of the fact, many supporting full decoding of h.264 using specialized instructions or dedicated HW. The real issue is going to be power-efficient encoding of h.265 streams in hardware, because there's no cheating the complexity even with specialized ASICs.

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quartzie
Boffin

hevc facts

There is a broad alliance of patent holders behind h.264 and even broader behind HEVC. The difference that HEVC made was including HW and SW partners, so that it could be designed for easier processing using combinations of CPU/GPU. Also, the design goal was to produce a codec @ half of h.264 bitrate - this was close, though not quite there last time I checked a couple of months ago (while the reference codec was in Working Draft 6).

As for UHD content, there are suddenly large swaths of similarly textured areas in each frame (imagine a DSLR shot of someone's peachy complexion) - all the more suitable for larger quadtree-style macroblocks. The large resolution also calls for finer motion-estimation, which is responsible for a lion's share of the encoding complexity increase - actual "compression" in HEVC has been pretty much ported from h.264/avc, and this also means that developing solutions for h.265 is going to be that little bit easier.

For people unfamiliar with the process, a compression standard pretty much describes the format of a data stream - and leaves the actual implementation to the market. HEVC working group was actually kind enough to also provide a reference encoder/decoder software, modifications of which made its way into many scholarly papers and dozens computer science students' graduation theses.

The sad truth about free codecs is that the basic technology for video compression hasn't changed significantly since mpeg2 - and the elements in that are very much patented. VP8/9/10.... won't be any different.

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Falling slinky displays slow-motion causality

quartzie
Go

Re: Seems overcomplicated

This seems to be a perfect "school science project" they could try in their free time on the ISS.

Now we need a suitable K-12 volunteer to submit the idea for us :D

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New MPEG format paves the way for UHDTV

quartzie

Re: Moving in Cycles?

or perhaps he was thinking about developmental cycles

as in

proposal-draft-implementation-deployment => new version proposal-draft..... etc.

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NASA counts down to nuclear tank invasion of Mars

quartzie
Alert

last minute check

I seriously urge NASA to use these last 40 days to re-check which part of the whole shebang is expecting its input in fractions of imperial units. Considering the thing was built and operated by engineers such as the one interviewed here, there's high probability of a non-metric bug stuck somewhere in the middle. Hopefully, it's not a 21 ft rope gently dropping the buggy from 20 m above surface...

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TERROR in SEATTLE: Gang of violent LEPRECHAUNS on the loose

quartzie

holding his head

Anyone else thought of a (nearly) headless Nick?

I was just wondering how on Earth could he still talk....

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Apple 15in MacBook Pro with Retina Display

quartzie

Re: you still use optical drives?

Just to keep you up to date: OS X no longer comes on rotating plastic. Since introduction of coffee holder-free MB Air, Apple has switched to cute own-branded USB keys. You can even upgrade your installation "media" this way when a new breed of cat comes around.

As for Creative Suite - Adobe offers complete trial downloads, which can be turned into full software by entering the proper serial number. (Yes, they still provide plastic, but I haven't actually opened my CS6 package except to get the code).

Quark - oh, well.

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Google Plus plus Meebo equals Google minus $100m

quartzie

Re: Oh, that thing?

Thanks mate,

I finally know what this Meebo buzzword was all about.

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Samsung Galaxy S III: A Swiss army knife of wireless tech

quartzie

Re: Bluetooth LE

If only those sensor companies hadn't gone for ANT+...

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iPad swipes more of tablet market

quartzie
WTF?

interesting conclusion

Given that the numbers for Kindle Fire and Nook only reflect US sales, exactly how are they an indicator of European economical depression?

Does not compute.

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Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook

quartzie

Lack of options

For the price tag attached, I'd much rather become a fruity fanboi - even Apple understood that resolution is king when people pay this much for a computer today. Not having an SD card reader is just rubbing it in; the only thing going for the Dell is its USB 3 port.

Though personally, I'm waiting for the retina display in the next-gen Air.

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What kind of LOSER sits in front of a PC...

quartzie

screen backlight and distractions

I've read many a book on my veritable Palm 3e's good old grayscale LCD, alternatively backlit with Indiglo. While it now rests in electronic heaven, I routinely got up to two weeks of joy from a pair of AAA cells.

Although I couldn't care less for the author's attitude, I'm also a somewhat satisfied Kindle customer. Extolling the virtues of a passive reading screen to an opinionated crowd would be a completely moot point, so I'll mention another, often sidelined 'feature' of dedicated ereaders - their intentional lack of any other functionality.

While many smartphone users will argue that they can just as well use their 'precious' to read, I find having so many features at hand a huge distraction. It may be just my personal opinion, but know at least two other Kindle owners who think alike.

That said, the entire publishing and media industry should pull their collective heads out of *where the sun don't shine* and bring a reasonable offer on the table. Just how long will they continue to ignore that end users no longer perceive geographical location as the critical factor, especially when purchasing bundles of 1s and 0s.

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Apple drops 'thermonuclear' patent bombshell

quartzie

Re: Publish and be damned

publish it on any other day and you'll surely find enough people believing it - especially with Cupertino's track record.

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Solar power towers overpower PV panels by 20X

quartzie

neighbours

Many find the 2D solar parks hideous enough, care to explain how much opposition would these "beauties" gather once built anywhere near populated areas? Surely the efficiency would be at least 5x higher....

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Squirrelled away: seeds survive 30,000-year winter

quartzie

Re: Re Grays?

Wikipedia is your friend...

To sum it up, Gray is the less discriminating unit = radiated energy/mass

Sievert is exactly the same thing, as long as the radiation is Gamma rays. Other types of radiation, namely alpha & beta can have significantly worse effects on tissue, and therefore include a coefficient, which compares them to an equivalent dose of Gamma rays.

namely:

Gamma 1x

Beta 2x

Alpha 20x

Thankfully, alpha radiation is generally easy to stop, so unless one gets a source inside his body, (remember Litvinenko in 2006?) one should be relatively safe.

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Brit pair deported from US for 'destroy America' tweet

quartzie
FAIL

USA a free country?

With the current legislation, China is much more a land of the free than the venerable US of A.

The US like to tout democracy as the ultimate freedom, but apart from their right to vote, the average chinese person does indeed have much fewer obstacles in their life. Travelling to the US? Prepare to be searched, questioned, probed, groped, scanned and have your entire notebook copied/confiscated, all at the liberty of the omnipotent TSA. If you go to China, you might be refused a visa, but the entry is much more pleasant.

Now which is the land of the free?

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Experts: We're stuck with passwords – and maybe they're best

quartzie
FAIL

Computers vs Humans

Sorry to pee in your cornflakes - this is exactly the reason why serious crackers have rainbow tables and dictionary files.

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Wi-Fi Protected Setup easily unlocked by security flaw

quartzie
FAIL

wps modes

The WPS button is unfortunately only one of possible connection modes under WPS. Others rely on a matching "PIN" - which obviously limits the effective security level of the device. This was intended for devices without a HW button, but it seems that it was an even worse idea than buttoned WPS.

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Royalty-free web vid spec sets sail with Apple's help

quartzie
Meh

The patent-free dream

As much as I'd like to applaud the developers' intention to start with a new, patent-free design, most of the currently known video and image compression techniques, including e.g. motion compensation, prediction and entropy coding are sadly all patented by the current MPEG-LA members and/or others.

It would be extremely unlikely for a team of developers to come up with a completely novel approach to video compression, especially if they are well versed in the current technology and therefore blinded by the known approaches.

The minefield provided by current patents in the area is nearly impossible to avoid, as proven by projects like VC-1 (which, sadly, resembles most modern codecs to the minute detail).

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Chinese state research unit pays $1,000 for USB stick

quartzie
FAIL

Printer memory, not USB

That's 128 MB of printer memory, not a USB stick. The price is still outrageous for that one, but at least it is a bit more exotic.

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HTC Radar WinPho 7.5 smartphone

quartzie
FAIL

daft storage decision

The asinine decision to provide so little storage while denying memory card expansion rightly cost this device a slew of customers. Seeing as most smartphones today need to be tethered to the power grid just about every day, it appears deranged to force customers into the cloud for their media files, too - wasting expensive bandwidth and precious mAhs on 3G. Not to mention potential customers living in areas with patchy wireless coverage.

For a phone that is supposed to increase WP7's market penetration, MS's business decisions remain rather unfathomable.

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Dutch ISP calls the cops after Spamhaus blacklists it

quartzie
Stop

dream on

The key word here is accountability.

While it is true that Spamhaus doesn't block anything, but its market penetration is so large, that it has enormous influence without any sort of accountability. That is a BAD thing, evidenced by the bullish behaviour described in this article.

You attempt at giving Spamhaus a carte blanche, since it's "your ISP's choice", is flawed from its very conception. Once you find your company mail server's IP blacklisted, and happen to lose business because of it, you'll start to understand my opposition.

Spamhouse has a lot of clout, yet there are no clear guidelines saying how far they can go. This is a position open to all sorts of political influence and I'd hate to put so much power to a body which clearly lacks ethical standards and can lower itself to the described behaviour.

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Brits buy more e-books than other Euro readers

quartzie
Go

Re:e-books .... mobility

Try stuffing 3-4 paperbacks in your luggage whenever travelling, you'll notice the difference. Paper takes up a lot of space and I certainly like looking at my Discworld series collection, all lined up on the shelf. But alas - currently, it is about 9000 km from me, because I simply couldn't rationalize stuffing kilos of paperback fiction in my luggage when going abroad.

That said, I certainly prefer reading textbooks and technical literature on paper (scribbles, squiggles, and just plain old visual memory). It's just all the other fiction, novels and even news articles are so much more convenient when contained in a slim 240 g package.

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quartzie

@Neil Barnes

About the book tracking - it can be turned off in your kindle profile, too. Or you may simply download the azw file from amazon yourself and keep the wireless on your kindle off.

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China Mobile pushes Jobs for Sino-flava 4G iPhone

quartzie
Headmaster

language, please.

At the risk of sounding like a proper nerd, I object to the neologisms used in the header and subtitle of the article. While glad to see liberal use of English on The Reg, it is generally done with taste. "Flava" and "mobe" hardly fall in that category.

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ISS 'naut shoots first ever 3D footage in space

quartzie
Stop

imax?

I clearly remember seeing 3D footage from space in an IMAX several years ago. How come that doesn't count?

The orange flying in my general direction through the ISS and out of the screen was a rather memorable event, definitely 3D.

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Seagate's flash-disk hybrid crosses the chasm

quartzie
Meh

firmware issues

The drive seems to have some annoying firmware issues Seagate has been very slow about despite a series of firmware updates.

On many computers, this drive will cause the system to stutter intermittently, which is particularly noticeable if you watch videos. While this can be mitigated by disabling the drive's APM (thanks, quietHDD), Seagate should really be able to do something more efficient, which doesn't seem so much like a hack.

I do like the drive's performance, although I tend to leave my PC on for extended periods of time and don't really see the "fast boot" very often. It can be very fast loading Photoshop, but part of that achievement is down to my 6 GB of RAM and Win7's preloading.

Generally speaking, yes the performance improvement is noticeable. But there are still issues which would make me reconsider going full-ssd if I was buying again.

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Audio Pro WF100 wireless streamer

quartzie
FAIL

Review....

As anyone working with audio on computers would have noticed, adding a new audio device to the mix does not mean that it automatically picks up everything.

As an example, designating your onboard audio device for communication (win7) means that any blurbs created by skype et al. do NOT go to your Hi-Fi setup over the air at all.

What's more - if your favorite music app packs any grit, it will let you select the audio device you want it to use, instead of going for default.

If you were interested in connecting to your hi-fi, you should have turned off any and all system sounds anyway.

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Microsoft hit with lawsuit in Kinect tech spat

quartzie
Go

I applaud the case

As much as I despise software patents, MS belongs to one of their largest supporters. Let it enjoy some well deserved patent troll attention.

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Toshiba Satellite P775 17.3in Core i7 laptop

quartzie
Thumb Down

University hardly a Challenge?

I beg to differ, in my own personal experience, a lot of Uni students (particularly CS majors) appreciate portability and battery life, rather than luggability and mains tethering.

I guess other majors might beg to differ, especially if most of their studying is done using pen & paper, but unless the grant also commands a set of wheels, this one is going to remain a foldable desktop.

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Pacific rare-earth discovery: Actually just gigatonnes of dirt

quartzie
Facepalm

misunderstood

You, sir, appear to have completely missed the main point Tim Worstall was making. He never said getting the rare earths is technically impossible, just that it is - at this time - utterly economically unfeasible.

Not only would it take more money to extract the rare earths at the detected concentration than their current worth on the market, but you also have to deal with the byproduct - billions of tons of acidic silt.

Dumping them into the sea would bring any and all Greenpeace armour to the mining site with destruction of mining equipment on their minds.

Therefore, unless China completely cuts the rest of the world off their rare earths supplies, causing their prices to skyrocket, there is no way to make money off that silt.

Anybody attempting to do so would need to find a lot more valuables in the dirt - perhaps not just rare earths.

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Ten thousand OLEDs unite in live Earth replica

quartzie
Meh

Upgrade

I remember visiting Miraikan in Tokyo back in 2002 and there was a distinctly similar interactive globe made from LED panels already.

I applaud the upgrade to OLED panels (and the upgrade in resolution), however the idea is hardly new.

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Kindle beats Apple's closed book on choice

quartzie

Re: What?

True, but Kindle owners would hardly feel pressed to buy another ebook reader. The "choice", as pointed out, stands for other classes of devices, meaning your PC, your tablet-smartphone and your Mac.

DRM might be a hassle, but since there are applications which allow you to read the protected books on other non-ereader equipment, you certainly have some choice. Just the ereader has to be courtesy of Amazon, and Kindle is incidentally one of the best ones on offer, especially with the free worldwide 3G package.

While I'm not very happy with Kindle's obstruction of DRM EPub, especially in light of possible library loans, I do understand Amazon's wish to protect its market share. Besides, publishers do not seem too eager to allow electronic library loans any time soon.

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Nikon D7000 DSLR camera

quartzie

choppy video

I have to ask - does the video really look so choppy to everyone, or is it just me? Or perhaps YouTube is to blame?

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WTF is... cloud gaming?

quartzie

not entirely wrong, just a bit

You are mixing pears and apples - the gripe ISPs have with YouTube et al is that it overloads their expensive trunks to the rest of the world.

In comparison, Gaming on demand, just like IPTV, is a solution located at ISP premises, or at a specialized location with separate high bandwidth connection. What's more, it offers a source of revenue for ISPs, unlike bandwidth sucking YouTube.

That said, I do not see how the service can overcome the deadly latency, which makes it entirely unsuitable for action gaming. I imagine quite a bit of the advertised 50ms is spent encoding the H.264 video, and the marketers presume everyone lives in a fiber-connected urban setting. Sadly, for many in Europe, US and the rest of the world, that is not the case.

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Researcher cracks Wi-Fi passwords with Amazon cloud

quartzie
FAIL

Re: Does anybody not see the problem?

You need to let your imagination run a little. People often mistakenly assume their home network is safe, as long as they use WPA2 (that's for sophisticated users, who have actually heard of WPA2). Hence, resources like home computers, home network storage, etc. are often perilously unsecure.

If someone wanted to plant something illegal onto your computer, or pilfer your documents, license keys, compromising private pictures or other valuable data, there would often be very little to stop them once they compromised your WiFi security. And the best thing - you would never know!

Never underestimate malice, jealousy or just plain envy when it comes to motivation.

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quartzie
Stop

And how exactly is Amazon supposed to know?

Your argument seems flawed, dear Watson.

Amazon rents its cloud oomph to clients independent of what they want to use it for. Sure, there may be some official policies against illegal stuff, but unless someone takes some serious time and effort to debug every single program executed on the cloud, there is no way for Amazon to know just what is their fluffy stuff is being used for.

I reckon that Amazon might publish a policy update sometime soon.

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Google delays Chrome OS, punts brandless beta netbook

quartzie

100M per month, not every day

the writer seems to have misunderstood the data plan offered with chromeOS devices.

the presentation, however, mentioned a rather measly 100M/month instead. This may sound more open while avoiding a serious lock-in, but it also means the additional $10 charge per month will become almost mandatory.

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